The New Wave of American Heavy Metal brought metal back to the mainstream of Americas ears beginning in the early 1990s. Since then, many bands have contributed to this new age of metal but ones left a lasting impact on many fans and ironically, theyre not even from America.
After three years, the UK band, Bullet for My Valentine (BFMV), is coming back to Philadelphia tonight at the Fillmore with accompanying acts Asking Alexandria and While She Sleeps. BFMV has been quite literally screaming out hits since 2005 and is comprised of lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Matthew Tuck, lead guitarist/backing vocals Michael Padge Paget, bass guitarist Jamie Mathias and drummer Michael Moose Thomas. The bands roots trace all the way back to 1998 when they were known as Jeff Killed John. After a couple of unsuccessful records they refocused their musical strategy from nu metal, which was waning in popularity, to heavy metal and gained interest from a couple record labels.
As soon as we were given that opportunity [record deal with Sony BGM] we just grabbed it and ran, Tuck says. We were so hungry for it in the first place that when we won that lottery and were given the opportunity to do it we just havent stopped since.
Just uttering the words heavy metal produces imagery to some people of headbanging, mosh pits and mindless growling for hours. Thats not the case for BFMV. Their melodic choruses, paean guitar riffs and dark music separate them from the pack. Venom, the bands latest album, is a perfect example of their careful crafting and devotion to what they release. Their music isnt some ditty with the same ballad over and over again.
Venom debuted at number one on the Billboard Hard Rock Albums Chart and number eight on the Billboard Top 200 Chart, their highest debut on the Billboard Top 200 Chart since Fever debuted at number three in 2010. Tuck wasnt completely satisfied, but the album returned BFMV to their roots with heavy riffs and choruses.
We were kind of stoked but a little bit disappointed because we just kind of beat ourselves up with stuff like that, Tuck says. Number eight was fantastic but we were hoping for better.
When it came to making Venom, the band sat down, explored their strengths and eliminated all weaknesses. Tuck described the album as a super heavy record which has all the elements that youd love if you love heavy metal bands and going to rock shows. The choruses are uplifting and the songs are structured to be unique and different from each other.
We wanted to make it super heavy but we didnt want to make it heavy for heavy sake, Tuck says. We knew we had to keep it melodic. We had to keep our identity.
Theres something on Venom for everyone because they tried to encapsulate a wide spectrum of the metal genre. They wanted to capture peoples imaginations and return to what people loved about BFMV in the first place.
We didnt really think too much about inspiration, Tuck says. We just kind of got in the studio and started to write songs. If it didnt fit that criteria of being dark, heavy, exciting then we just kind of scrapped it and started again really before we kind of got the whole album.
Their relentless attitude of never being satisfied has helped them achieve things they never thought possible. With over 5 million albums sold worldwide and the millions of fans who stick by them, Tuck says he never thought hed be able to make music for a living when he was growing up.
BFMV has played at the Download Festival, Vans Warped Tour and Mayhem Festival, some of the most popular music festivals where fans climb over each other to find the best standing room. Theyve also played alongside some of the best acts in metal like Killswitch Engage, Avenged Sevenfold and Atreyu. So whats next for a band thats accomplished so much?
Historically, fans can expect a new album at the end of 2017 but Tuck hasnt even written a riff yet. BFMV is still riding the wave of their new tour and album. Not to mention theyll be doing lots of international touring and are hoping to be able to go to Russia, Southeast Asia and India if the demand is there. Expect them to give a killer show tonight because they feed off of the fans reactions and expect them to treat themselves to what Tuck calls cheesesteak time.
We always like people to leave with a smile on their face, necks aching, ears ringing and just going home going fuck that was a sick show, Tuck says.
With Asking Alexandria and While She Sleeps. Wed., March 2, 7:30pm. $25.50. The Fillmore, 29 E. Allen St. thefillmorephilly.com